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Home News New ECHO Program launching to increase Colorectal Cancer screening in New Mexico
David Barre
(505) 699-9237 Office

New ECHO Program launching to increase Colorectal Cancer screening in New Mexico

March 15, 2024 - Public Health - Awareness


SANTA FE – This month, a joint program between the Mexico Department of Health’s (NMDOH) Comprehensive Cancer Program, UNM’s Comprehensive Cancer Center, the American Cancer Society (ACS), and Project ECHO is launching to raise awareness about the importance of colorectal cancer screening. The New Mexico Colorectal Cancer Screening ECHO Program will launch March 29 to train and mentor health care providers across the state.  

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month. The office of Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham also issued a proclamation acknowledging the month. 

This ECHO series will support providers throughout New Mexico through discussion of evidence-based colorectal cancer screening approaches, as well as personal stories of patients, providers and communities. 

“We have been studying colorectal cancer screening needs in New Mexico and we have found a need for working together with a health equity lens to increase screening rates,” said Dr. Prajakta Adsul, with the UNM Comprehensive Cancer Center. “The ECHO program is an evidence-informed place to share strategies to improve cancer screening and ultimately improve colorectal cancer outcomes, increasing prevention and early-detection efforts in New Mexico health systems.”  

Visit the New Mexico Colorectal Cancer Screening ECHO website for more information. 

“As an 11-year colorectal cancer survivor and the Director of Project ECHO at the American Cancer Society I am excited to be a part of the team bringing the New Mexico Colorectal Cancer Screening ECHO to life,” shared Allison Rosen. “With Project ECHO, we can build capacity to create a world where lifesaving best practices are available to every person, no matter their circumstance. As a survivor and someone who works in this space, this gives me purpose, and I understand the importance as I do not want anyone else to have to go through what I went through.” 

Data show that among cancers that affect adults, colorectal cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death, behind lung cancer. Recent American Cancer Society (ACS) estimates for New Mexico suggest there will be 960 new cases of invasive colorectal cancer diagnosed, and 340 deaths attributed to colorectal cancer in 2024. This is an increase of about 17% over the 290 deaths that were expected in New Mexico in 2023. 

You could already have polyps or colorectal cancer and not know it. A screening test can help you find out and can even prevent colorectal cancer from developing. Screening for colorectal cancer is recommended for average-risk people ages 45 to 75. Be sure to discuss the different tests and what is the appropriate screening schedule for you. If you think you may be at increased risk for colorectal cancer, consult with a trusted health care professional about when to begin screening. Your risk for colorectal cancer may be higher than average if: 

  • You or a close relative have had colorectal polyps or colorectal cancer. 
  • You have inflammatory bowel disease, Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis. 
  • You have a genetic syndrome such as familial adenomatous polyposis (FAP), Lynch syndrome, or hereditary non-polyposis colorectal cancer. 

“Colorectal Cancer screening can save lives,” said Cary Virtue, Comprehensive Cancer Program Manager with NMDOH. “The earlier cancer is found, the earlier you can begin treatment, and the more likely you are to survive. There are many colorectal cancer screening options for people out there, and as we often say – the best option is the one that gets done.”  

Media Contact

We would be happy to provide additional information about this press release. Simply contact David Barre at (505) 699-9237 (Office) with your questions.

Versión en Español

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Programa ECHO lanza un nuevo programa para aumentar la detección del cáncer colorrectal en Nuevo México